In mid-December 2020, social media accounts began highlighting the alleged hypocrisy of Biden’s calls for national unity and healing by claiming he shared pictures of his dogs fighting over a chew toy in the likeness of President Donald Trump. The images are authentic, but they were not shared by Biden himself, or official accounts associated with his campaign or transition team. Naomi Biden, Joe Biden’s granddaughter, shared the images on Twitter in July and then deleted them. A fan account for the President-elect’s pets reposted them five months later on Instagram. This page is not run by or affiliated with the Biden family or their communications team.
On Dec. 12, Jack Posobiec, a right-wing activist and correspondent for One America News Network (OANN) (here), tweeted (here) two images of dogs playing with the caption, “Joe Biden has an Instagram account for his dogs, and they just posted pictures of them using the President as chew toy. Unity and Healing!”
Examples of Facebook and Instagram posts sharing Posobiec’s claim can be found here , here and here .
The phrase “Unity and Healing” is likely to refer to President-elect Biden’s repeated calls for national unity and healing since media organizations declared him the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 7. In a speech that evening, for example, Biden encouraged all Americans to “let us be the nation that we know we can be, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed, the United States of America” (here).
The screenshots in the social media posts do not come from an official Biden account, but rather an Instagram fan page for his dogs, Champ and Major, as well as pets owned by the President-elect’s extended family. The description in the page bio reads, “We are the First Pets of the USA, #DOTUS Champ, Major & #COTUS Winston Biden’s pawfficial fan page. We love nom noms, snuggles & roaming in the WH!”
On Dec. 12, the account, first_dogs_usa (here), posted the images of the dogs, along with Naomi Biden’s mini Australian Shepherd, Charlie (here , here), over the Trump toy with the caption, “Awoooof! I hope you’ll enjoy these pics of me, Champ & Charlie First Grandpupper. @NaomiBiden took these during our #TugOfWar match. Champ was the champion - some names are predestined. Just like winning, in a landslide, by a record number of votes. #ByeDon #YoureFired #DOTUS” (here).
The same day, the Instagram page’s affiliated Twitter tweeted the images with the same caption (here).
Naomi Biden, the President-elect's oldest grandchild, had shared the images on July 16 in a now-deleted tweet (here) with the caption “Champ is short for Champion, but Charlie & Major played a good game.”
Reuters spoke via direct message with the administrator of the Instagram page @first_dogs_usa, who confirmed, “Of course this is a fan account not related in any way to the Biden transition comms team.”
Partly false. Though these images of Biden’s dogs fighting over a Trump chew toy are authentic, they were taken in July and first shared by his granddaughter, Naomi Biden, who has since deleted the tweet. In December, an unofficial fan account for Biden’s pets reposted the images on Instagram.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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